We learned that short, intense exercise sessions offer more benefits to the heart than long, moderate bouts of physical activity.
Danish researchers did a cross-section analysis of a study involving 10,135 individuals between 1991 and 1994, and a longitudinal analysis of 3,992 individuals evaluated between 2001 and 2003. Each participant reported on physical activity, smoking, alcohol use and demographic factors.
At baseline, 21 percent of the female participants and 27 percent of male participants had metabolic syndrome, or at least three of the following ailments: central obesity, high triglycerides, low levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), hypertension, and elevated plasma glucose.
The results found that people who engaged in high-intensity physical activity for short periods of time had a 50 percent reduced chance of developing metabolic syndrome after 10 years. Low intensity activity, however, didn’t protect them against metabolic syndrome.